09/25/2009 4:41PM

Some weekend thoughts


Some (junk?) food for thought on some of this weekend's stakes races:

Gallant Bloom (Belmont - Race 9):

A very good older filly, Indian Blessing, tackles a very good three-year-old filly in Sara Louise.  Obviously, neither would be a surprise, but they both will take a ton of money, and there are some question marks that each has to address.  Is Indian Blessing the same filly now that she was when she won this race last year?  Will Sara Louise regress off a career-best Beyer Speed Figure earned off an injury-induced long layoff? 
If you're interested in a longshot, you could do worse than Sky Haven.  This lightly-raced runner was bumped hard coming out of the gate in the Victory Ride, conceded valuable ground to Sara Louise early, and made up a little bit of ground in the lane.  I'm expecting her new jockey, Alan Garcia, will have her closer to the pace given an alert break, and she seems like a filly with a bit of upside.

Kentucky Cup Distaff (Turfway - Race 10):

Defending champ Bear Now returns to her favorite surface, but she hasn't won since last year's Kentucky Cup, and may be getting slightly long in the tooth at the tail-end of her five-year-old season.  She'll be bet because of her reputation, and can certainly win this race, but I'll look for some sharper runners. 
Whirlie Bertie looked good winning the Grade 3 Gardenia at Ellis Park in gate-to-wire fashion, and she's fast enough to obtain a nice forward position despite breaking from the far outside.  The main concern is her lack of synthetic form, but her solid race on turf two back gives me some hope that she'll handle this quirky polytrack surface.  The distance won't be a problem as she owns three wins between 8 1/2 and 9 furlongs. 

Kentucky Cup Sprint (Turfway - Race 12):

If Guam Typhoon gets bet, I'll take a stand against him.  He doesn't have any synthetic form, and I thought he raced on a golden rail when third to Blame (rail-skimming winner) in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga two back.  He got beat at 11-10 last time out when lacking a stretch kick. 
Hamazing Destiny also doesn't have any prior races on synthetic surfaces, but he looks to be going the right way for Wayne Lukas.  Although still eligible for a 'n2L' race, Hamazing Destiny will make the important third start of the form cycle, and has the tactical speed to sit a decent stalking trip while just off the leaders.  He did have every chance to pass Mesa Sunrise last time out at Saratoga, and didn't, but that race should set him up nicely for this.  He's worth a shot if allowed to drift a bit in the wagering.

Kentucky Cup Classic (Turfway - Race 13):

Hold Me Back looks like a slam dunk on paper, but he's facing older horses for the first time, and I thought he got a great trip in the Travers.  Allowed to relax behind a wicked pace up front, he picked up the collapsing pacesetters to finish a well-beaten second behind Summer Bird.  He does like synthetic surfaces, but will be bet through the ground, and maybe he'll regress off his fastest race ever. 
I do realize that Sligovitz is a reach, but he is very comfortable on synthetic going, and has faced some solid runners in recent starts up in Canada.  He only finished two lengths behind the classy veteran Sterwins two starts back, then was making up late ground on the in-form Ice Bear last time out.  Sligovitz, a confirmed stalker, should get the jump on Hold Me Back turning for home.

Maryland Million Sprint (Laurel - Race 9):

Here's a crazy horse for you.  Just Don exits a 'n4L' race at Penn National, is only 1-17 at this six-furlong distance, and will likely face other speeds in the early stages of the race.  If he was 5-2, I'd pitch him, but he'll be closer to 20-1 than 2-1.  He broke the track record at Penn National last time out, and I think he may be the speed of the speed. 
Not for Silver is the horse to beat, but I thought he took advantage of a ridiculously fast pace two back at Calder.  While I don't think he's as bad as his recent one-paced performance in the slop against Grade 1 runners at Saratoga, I don't think he's as good as that Carry Back line from Calder. 

More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.


Hi Dan, I enjoy your blog very much.  Would you be so kind as to post pps for some of my favorite turf horses: Waya, Manila, Ten Keys, and Paradise Creek?  Thanks so much!

Here's what I have for these turf warriors:

Download TurfRunners


Thanks for the pp's on Bar JF Hot Ticket. I guess being called "Mulish" may not be a bad thing afterall LOL!
SR Vegas

Not only is the "Hot Ticket" going for yet another win this afternoon in the first race at Fairplex, but she'll face younger full sister Bar JF Red Ticket (13-15 with two seconds), and older full sister Bar JF Winning Ticket (11-56 lifetime).  Would that make the dam, Holdalltickets, a "blue hen" mare?


Anything stick out for either of you on Saturday's 2nd at Belmont. (It's 2yo turf maidens at Belmont) It's the first race of the twinspires.com satelite and I'm seeking the opinion who's got more of a clue on NY 2yos than I do (which is pretty much everyone!)
Stephen Taylor

I only gave the race a cursory glance, but Thundering Roar looks like the horse to beat off a good-trip second at Saratoga.  Holy Ego has a nice pedigree for turf, but trainer Gary Contessa has woeful numbers with first-turf runners.  I'd take a shot with Power Blast, a Linda Rice-trained colt that was caught three wide every step in his debut on closing day at the Spa.  That race was a two-turn route, and I think he's better suited to this shorter distance.  On dirt, I'd give Flying Valentine a look.


Hi Dan first thank you for the time,can you post pp´s for sea the stars,thanks again take care.  

Here's what I have for Europe's leading racehorse:

Download Sea the Stars


DAN, now that the Saratoga meet is over, who could be this years BIG BROWN or PIONEEROF THE NILE.  You know, a horse that breaks their maiden in a 1 and 1/16 mile turf maiden race at Saratoga, then goes on to the "Derby Trail"
Captain Bodgit

He hasn't broken his maiden yet, but keep an eye out for Eskendereya, a son of Giant's Causeway out of Aldebaran Light, by Seattle Slew.  The $250,000 yearling finished a fast-closing second in his debut at the Spa, and while his pedigree is mostly turf, the third dam is a half-sister to 1974 Derby winner Cannonade. 


Does DRF have a break-down of stats for each type of synthetic surface or is everything lumped together under "synthetic"?

Unfortunately, the data is all grouped under the generic "synthetic."


Congrats to Patrick for nosing out Mike V. via tiebreaker in this week's HandiGambling exercise.  He gets to select next week's race.


Enjoy the weekend.


Keith L. More than 1 year ago
Dick W I was a frequent visitor to Longacres in the late 80s and early 90s until it closed, sold to office park development needs. It was a beautiful track, and a very formful track. My employment in the Seattle area kept me there for a couple of years after the closing, and I had to content myself with trips to Yakima Downs and Portland Meadows for live racing, not the best of situations. Never got to see the new Emerald downs track in Auburn, as I was employed back East when that finally opened.
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
All... Some funny thing's going on already today: Delaware Race 1 #2 Favorite Class 1/5 $12,305 in the show pool $9,326 bet on #2 Results 5. 14.00 5.20 8.60 1A. 11.20 26.20 1. 11.20 26.20 #2 ran off the board. Please call me next time. Suffolk Downs Race 5 Winner #5 60-1 Win Pool $46,711.00 Win Pool #5 #600.00 1% of the pool Wins and pays $125.80. Who in the world can pick that winner? The 5 horse in the 5th race? The bug boy up? My kid turned 5 today, so play the #5 in all races? It comes down to luck sometimes. Throw out all of the logic and you get paid off in some way. The $1 Super paid $15K. The second and third choices came in 2nd and 3rd in that super. Luck be a lady tonight. More to follow. Whackymacky Out.
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
PS. Not playing my girl anymore. She made me some big scores this summer. She is cold and heartbroken about her love for Mike Smith. Chantal can still ride with the best of them. I still would like to see her on a big name horse. ( Mine That Bird ). I will still watch her and wish her the best. She can put her slipper's under my bed anytime!!! Whackymacky Out.
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
All... Some great reading over the past couple of days. This is the best blog around with the sharpest minds in the country!!!!! Lets make some $ Belmont Today On My Birthday!! Race 4 #1 Deb's Roof $150 WP Race 5 #14 Headache $150 WP Race 6 #4 Shareholders Dues $150 WP Race 7 #8 Classical Fashion $150 WP LOL to all today. More to follow on some betting plays. Best to all today on making some $. Whackymacky
chicago gerry More than 1 year ago
I recently read that Tom Ainslie once admitted he had been wrong about the importance of speed figures. The book where I got this information also contains a laundry list of handicapping principles that were true at what time, but are no longer true. I wonder how many handicappers continue to apply outmoded concepts in their handicapping. Let's assume for a moment, the author is correct on this. What is the implication for the handicapper. Why have applied handicapping techniques changed? Is is due to the breeding of the modern thorobred? The traning? Track surfaces? The sheer number of races throughout North America? I knew a man who told me he used to be a successful handicapper but he had not won anything relatively speaking for over 3 years. He once was a good handicapper and now he is a loser. What happened to him? Give me a loser. He does not have to have a lot of confidence, but I do want him to beleive he is smart and someone likes him; even if it is his dog or cat. I want him to have been a handicapper for at least 5 years and at a minimum be a weekend warrior. The reason for this is, I want someone who has already developed handicapping habits, right or wrong, in a meaningful way. I want someone who is currently wagering and not having been away from wagering activity for a while. He should bring with him 2 twice his normal bankroll. I am going to ask him to do things that are counter intuitive, I am going to ask him to follow a 6 step process whereby he will learn to divest himself of runners on his wagering ticket and to divest himself of the wagering ticket itself. I will show him how to properly construct his wagering ticket based on his divested wagers. The end result is that he is going to change his losing habits. He will develop new ways of doing things and lift himself out of a losers hell hole. I know how he feels because I have been there.
Dick W More than 1 year ago
Mike A Thank you for your insightful comments. They are much appreciated. I think I have given the impression from my comments that I am a newcomer to this game, when in actuality I have been doing it off and on for many years. In some respects I have come full circle in that I started out making $2 show bets on favorites and gradually as I learned more began to increase both the amount and the amount of risk until I was making $50 and $100 win bets on horses in the 5 to 1 to 15 to 1 range. That of course was when I was working full time and receiving a nice paycheck (I am retired now and living on a fixed income). So now I am back to making small bets in the $2 to $5 range, mostly win and place and exacta with a tri or multi race bet thrown in once in awhile. While I have had streaks of good fortune, I have never been profitable over a long period of time. I agree with your comments as to the importance of having confidence in oneself. And not being afraid of throwing a favorite out now and then if you really think they are vulnerable. I got started at the old Longacres track in Seattle and I loved that track and was quite distraught when they sold out to Boeing. Anyway, enough about me for now. Chicago Gerry Nice hit on Peyote Patty. You should be proud of that one ! Annie All this talk about G. Weaver (including some from me) and I miss him yesterday at Belmont. I had the Mott horse who of course finished second. I am liking a horse named Caret (#1) in the 11th at Kentucky Downs today (the DRF race of the day). While she lacks experience and is facing winners for the first time, she broke her maiden in nice fashion in her only race and has a decent turf pedigree.
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
My horse watch has provided the information that the older male group is soon to get another runner. Nick Zito's Anak Nakal has been working smartly at Aqueduct preparing for a return to the races. Recall this horse was a Champagne winner as a 2 yo, and after Showing in the Belmont in his 3 yo season, won the Pennsylvania Derby. Zito has always thought highly of this horse, and perhaps we will see if he is Right or Wrong on him afterall?
Annie More than 1 year ago
Mickey, I did, in fact, own some "small" horses years ago, but Formblog wasn't around then. While not very profitable, it sure was alot of fun. I'd love to do it again. Actually there are quite a few bloggers on here who own horses, and we love to root for them even if we don't always bet them. Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Mike A, LOL! Too bad Katie is vacationing at "the Shore". She's missing out on the Weaver horses and she loves to bet them. Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Sandee, WTG!! I'm always happy to see fellow Formbloggers win some money. Of course, the Weaver horse that I needed didn't come in, but I figure he owes me one. LOL Runfromthestorm would have produced a $1760 Pick 4 with that other Weaver horse, Solvent and I would have been very happy with that. :) Glad I was of some help. Annie